The step-by-step subversion led by the Havana-Caracas axis and followed by the presidents of Bolivia, Nicaragua, Ecuador and others, includes the following measures:
• Stacking the judiciary and/or intimidation of independent jurists who might rule edicts unconstitutional or fail to properly “prosecute” political opponents.
• Gradual elimination of constitutional separation of powers, including removing any checks and balances to the executive branch and giving it effective control over the legislative and judicial branches.
• Harassment, intimidation and eventual neutralization or takeover of news media.
• Establishment of “official,” “national” or otherwise government-controlled civil institutions, such as labor unions or trade associations.
• Militarization of society, which includes indoctrination of students in the virtues of socialism, the creation of armed “people’s militias” to serve the ruling political party and the purging of the professional military to leave only loyalists within the ranks.
• Control of police forces by the ruling political party and the elimination of any independent citizen access to protection from abuse by government officials.
• Criminalization of peaceful dissent and of political differences.
This list, sad to say, is far from comprehensive. Nor are its internal control measures original, having all been used by 20th-century dictatorial regimes.
Crossing the River Yuyo
What President Correa is trying to do — and let’s hope he will choose not to do after the referendum results are known — is demolish the foundation of the “liberal democracy” and replace it with a “dictatorial democracy.” This is by no means a word game. A liberal democracy is the type of government in which people consent to being governed — provided that their individual rights, including property rights, are protected by the Constitution; in which a division of powers limits the authority of those who govern; and where there is a market economy whose production function falls, fundamentally, on the civil society. In other words, the model of coexistence found in the 30 most developed and happiest countries on the planet.
On the other hand, the dictatorial democracy, as described and defended by the Dominican Juan Bosch in a 1969 essay titled “Dictatorship With Popular Support,” and revived by Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez in the so-called 21st Century Socialism, is in turn rooted in the enlightened despotism of the 17th and 18th centuries. It’s a type of government in which the authority — exercised by an exceptional caudillo legitimized in the polls by a majority of voters who renounce their rights and their control over their lives — is imposed upon the masses allegedly for their own glory and benefit, something that hardly ever occurs in practice as evidenced by the 30 poorest and unhappiest countries that fall in this category.
Darrell Issa’s recess included trip to Puerto Rico. I’m not sure why this would be controversial, though. He was visiting the governor.
The week’s posts and podcast,
Political journalist Wilfred Ojeda murdered in Venezuela
Will there be an Iranian missile crisis?
Mexican gang violence kills 27 in Guatemala
Podcast: The morning report: Let’s talk about Mexico (audio starts immediately)
At Real Clear World,
Hispan TV: Iran-Cuba Joint Propaganda Effort